Hayes came off the bench in Monday's 117-110 overtime win over the Pistons, finishing with eight points (2-3 FG, 4-6 FT) and six rebounds. After shooting 74.2 percent from the field and averaging 17.3 points, 8.0 rebounds and 2.7 blocks over the prior three contests, Hayes was surprisingly bypassed for the starting nod at center, even with Derrick Favors (hamstring) missing a second straight game. Coach Alvin Gentry seemingly made a matchup-based decision to turn to Jahlil Okafor for the start against a more traditional back-to-the-basket center in Andre Drummond, and the choice paid dividends, as Okafor finished with 25 points (11-21 FG, 3-3 FT), 14 rebounds, five assists and three blocks in 34 minutes. The heftier Okafor could be prioritized again over the lithe Hayes when the Pelicans match up against the Jazz and 7-foot-1, 258-pound center Rudy Gobert on Thursday, but both New Orleans big men would be in line for smaller roles if Favors is cleared to play.
Hayes produced 20 points (9-13 FG, 2-5 FT), two rebounds, two blocks and one assist in 26 minutes during Saturday's 140-105 loss to the Celtics. Hayes drew the start in place of Derrick Favors (hamstring) and finished with a career high in scoring. He has connected on 29-of-39 from the field (74.4 percent) through the first six games here in January, and if Favors remains sidelined for Monday's matchup versus the Pistons, Hayes can be expected to start once again.
Hayes is in the starting lineup for Saturday's game at Boston, Celtics' broadcaster Sean Grande reports. Derrick Favors (hamstring) is out Saturday, pushing Hayes into the starting role for the first time since Dec. 7. Hayes averaged 10.1 points and 5.8 rebounds in 26.0 minutes over his 10 previous starts this season.
Hayes scored 18 points (7-8 FG, 4-9 FT) while adding 10 rebounds, two blocks, an assist and a steal in 29 minutes off the bench during Friday's 123-111 win over the Knicks. The rookie center delivered his second straight double-double and third of the year in one of his best all-around performances so far. Hayes' minutes and production have been spotty aside from his defensive efforts -- he's averaging 1.6 blocks in only 16.7 minutes over the last 10 games -- and he could soon have additional competition for court time once Zion Williamson (knee) is ready to make his debut, but Hayes' own skills and upside should keep him in a fairly consistent role on the second unit.
Hayes logged 14 points (7-10 FG), 12 rebounds and four blocks in 24 minutes off the bench Wednesday in the Pelicans' 123-108 win over the Bulls. Hayes excelled early on in the contest against a defensively challenged Bulls frontcourt that was missing Wendell Carter (ankle), prompting coach Alvin Gentry to reward the rookie with an even share of the center minutes with starter Derrick Favors. Considering Hayes had only averaged 4.8 points and 2.8 rebounds in 14.0 minutes over his prior five outings, it's probably not worth reading too much into Wednesday's blowup performance. Given how well the Pelicans have fared since Favors returned from an extended personal leave in mid-December, Gentry likely won't marginalize him in favor of Hayes most nights.
Last 7 Games
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